The LEAP Student Blog
Brett Carter - Franklin Pierce HS: "The Road to Recovery"
||Franklin Pierce HS|
The Road to Recovery
August 29th, 2012, was a regular day of school. It went quickly and I remember that everybody was happy to see each other, even if that meant that we had to be at school. After school, I went to football practice, excited for the season to finally get underway. Only two practices left until our first game. At this point, I was attracting a lot of attention from colleges who were anxious to see me play that fall. A potential scholarship was on the line. The exhilarating feeling that I’d get on the first play of the season was all I could imagine while walking onto the practice field.
The practice was high intensity. We were on the throne, coming off of a league championship season in 2011. I remember the practice, the play, and the sound very vividly. I was going to start at Tight End on the offensive side of the ball. Coach had just put in a middle screen for me. He gave me instructions before the play. The words “Stay in the middle” rang through my head as I caught the ball and accelerated. Clashing pads, ripping grass, a defender falls, I plant...CRACK! My leg was broken -- a compound fracture of my left tibia and fibula.
My leg was put into an air cast and I was lifted into an ambulance. It was the longest car ride of my life. I arrived at Tacoma General Hospital and was accompanied by family and friends who literally overflowed out of the waiting room. It was heart-warming to see how many people cared about me. Later that night I had surgery. An incision was made through the tendon in my knee. My tibia was then hollowed out and a titanium rod was inserted, held in place by two screws in my knee and two in my ankle.
I remember coming home from the hospital and having my Facebook feed explode with sympathy posts. For the first half of September, there was never a day or night when I didn’t have a family member, or even a friend, by my bed side. I knew that the recovery process would be difficult and like nothing I’d ever gone through before. I never doubted once that I could recover, and I owe that to the abundance of support I had from what felt like over a hundred people.
The recovery process started with bed rest. I was able to begin walking short distances after 17 days. Six times a day I would have to take medication and my mom literally slept at my bedside to make sure that I was comfortable. Discussing the topic with her now, neither of us remembers much of September. It’s like we got lost somewhere in time. However, the things we do remember are gallons of apple juice and chocolate milk, and Drake & Josh marathons on Netflix.
Upon returning to school, I was in a wheelchair for what seemed like all of October. It was a warm welcome back from many. My recovery was going well and I even danced for three hours at Homecoming at the expense of not being able to walk well for several days afterwards. Late in December, I had another surgery to remove the screws from my knee to shorten recovery time. I set a goal to return to sports after Christmas break, to play basketball. Even though I wasn’t in great shape, I did make it back and played in two playoff games and scored a few points.
In the spring, I began physical therapy to help strengthen my muscles. PT really helped me recover faster. I owe part of my successful recovery to the hard workers at Olympic Sport and Spine Rehabilitation. I played an entire baseball season while attending physical therapy periodically throughout the season. I was fortunate enough to be honored as an all league honorable mention pitcher. Football practices also began in the spring and it was a great opportunity for me to knock off some rust.
Since my injury cost me my junior season of football, the last few months of preparations for football were crucial. I travelled to several football camps on the west coast: five in Washington, one in Oregon, and one in California. I also travelled to Arizona to visit a school and see what their program has to offer. My summer season was very successful and it is translating to my play now. I’m finally playing under the Friday night lights again!
Recruiting is really picking up. My dream of playing college football is just within my reach. Recovering from my broken leg was the hardest thing I have ever had to do. Without the support and hard work of individuals who were willing to help me, I would never be where I’m at now. Learning to walk properly again was difficult, but learning to run was even more challenging. Without the help of my speed coach, James Laurence at Legerity Sports Performance, it’s hard to imagine that I’d be running so well right now
Something unexpected could happen any given day. I’ve learned from my injury to stay optimistic, persevere, and take each day one at a time, because I don’t know how many “normal” ones I will get. I don’t take things for granted anymore. And for that, I am thankful to experience this adversity. In the end, I feel more mature and prepared for what life has to throw at me and I’m ready to run with it.